As the Rim fire continues to burn closer and into Yosemite, nobody seems to want to point out why this fire is burning so well, or so fast.
The answer is environmentalism, and budget cuts that have prohibited proper forest conservation.
Environmentalism is the idiotic belief that man knows what’s best for the forest, and can bend mother nature to his will. In this particular arm-wrestling match, nature will always win. It was here before man, it will be here after man. The current wave of environmentalism culminated in huge budget cuts, which has allowed undergrowth to grow unchecked. Controlled burns were cut out of budgets, as was undergrowth removal.
Supposedly, this stupidity was to allow the forest to ‘return to the wild.’ Yet, in the wild, fires started by nature – by lightning strikes, for instance – occur regularly. Man, compounding the errors of environmentalism, promptly stopped any wildfires. Not a bad plan, but one that runs contrary to the whole ‘return to the wild’ idea. Environmentalists seem to think that they can have it both ways; control mother nature, and let mother nature run wild.
It doesn’t work that way.
If you want to reduce the possibility of wildfires, you’ve got to reduce the amount of fuel. That means remove undergrowth. That means controlled burns. That means proper management of the forests through intelligent stewardship, not patchwork rules thrown together for political reasons like the moronic ‘green’ bullshit.
EVERY conservationist knows that In small fires are part of a forest’s ecosystem; they burn off under- and overgrowth, and create a healthier forest that can resist conflagration like the Rim Fire.
The Rim Fire is just another tiny reminder – a brushing back from the plate if you will – by Mother Nature to California that it’s not nice – or intelligent – to mess with her. Politicians don’t understand nature, and posturing doesn’t help our state in the long run. Our state parks and forests are powder kegs that could go off at any time. They’re fueled up and ready to burn. The state of California and the USFS needs to pull their heads out of the sand and recognize that what they’ve been doing is wrong.
From an article in the East Bay Express, titled “Yosemite Fire Fueled By Budget Cuts”:
“…The massive Rim Fire, which destroyed Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp and now threatens historic redwood groves, is being fed by decades’ worth of undergrowth that wasn’t cleared because of a lack of funds.
Earlier this week, when Governor Jerry Brown visited areas of Tuolumne County that had been devastated by the massive Rim Fire, he called the enormous blaze “unexpected,” according to a Sacramento TV station. In truth, however, experts say that big fires like the one that has roared through the Sierra Nevada and is threatening two historic groves of old-growth giant redwoods in Yosemite National Park may become common. The reasons are simple: Throughout the 20th century, the US Forest Service purposely suppressed wildfires, thereby allowing decades of thick undergrowth to accumulate in the nation’s forests, effectively turning them into giant powder kegs. And then when the federal agency realized its mistake and made plans to thin the underbrush and conduct controlled burns to help prevent gigantic wildfires, it was blocked from doing so because of federal budget cutbacks.
This week, the Los Angeles Times quoted two forestry experts, including UC Berkeley fire scientist Scott Stephens, who said that US Forest Service officials told them that a lack of federal funds had prevented the agency from implementing its plans to thin the understory in Stanislaus National Forest, where the Rim Fire is raging, and conduct small controlled burns there to reduce fuel levels. As a result, the forest is choked with underbrush that is feeding the intensely hot blaze — so hot that it’s threatening to engulf giant redwoods that have lived for thousands of years and are normally fire-resistant. “If prescribed burning had been done in many of these areas, it would have been easier to stop [the fire] or it wouldn’t have done so much damage,” John Buckley, an ex-firefighter for the US Forest Service and head of the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center, told the Times.
In a natural ecosystem, small fires are common and keep a forest healthy and resistant to large fires that can transform an entire region into a moonscape…”
As a rule, when you create a disaster that can be seen from SPACE, you’ve really screwed up. It’s time to start undoing the damage to California’s many and diverse ecosystems. Damage caused by politicians and environmentalists.